Washington State: day nineteen (departure)
23.07.2017 - 24.07.2017
The end of the road
Sign in Speciality's - good advice from a blueberry!
Departure day - but with a late afternoon flight we had a few hours remaining to us to enjoy a bit more of Seattle. The Speciality's coffee shop just across the road from the Motif hotel was the obvious place for our final US breakfast (of this trip) and proved a good one. The West Coast chain has several branches in Seattle; this one on Fifth Avenue is spacious and on a Sunday morning wasn't too busy. Both pastries and coffee were good and we had a relaxing breakfast before going back to the hotel to finish packing.
Pike Place Market
We checked out and left the bags at the hotel. We had decided to go back to Pike Place Market as we had seen relatively little of it on our first visit. But before that we went to mass (as Chris, a Catholic, likes to do when possible when we travel) at Seattle's rather unusual downtown RC church, Christ Our Hope. This is located in a former hotel, the New Washington, on Second Street and Stewart, which is now run by the Catholic Housing Services as an apartment block housing 240 formerly homeless and low-income residents, the Josephinium. The church was created out of the hotel’s former dining room and opened just a few years ago in 2010. If you are a church goer I think you will enjoy the experience of attending a mass here - we found everyone very friendly and welcoming, and the building itself is worth seeing.
Pike Place Market sign
After mass we walked down from the hotel to the northern end of the market area, stopping for coffee again at Local Color before starting to explore.
Sign in Local Color, and another near the market
Balloon modeller on Stewart St
We saw the original Starbucks's but as neither of us like the chain (neither its coffee nor its ethics) we didn't go in, although we did stop briefly to listen to some musicians playing outside.
The original Starbucks
Billie the Pig
We also saw Billie, one of the famous bronze piggy banks. The most famous of these is actually Rachel, who ‘lives’ at the other end of the market, near the clock – she is the market’s unofficial mascot and raises money for good causes as, the story goes, if you rub her nose and make a donation she will bring you good luck. While Rachel has been here since 1986, her cousin Billie is a relative newcomer having arrived in 2011. But you can see from his shiny nose that the same tradition now exists here too.
We browsed some of the crafts stalls near here. I was tempted by a necklace but resisted as I had already bought one at the start of the trip, in Pioneer Square. But we did buy a pretty bowl for a friend we were to visit in Germany the following weekend.
On one of the lower levels we found an odd group of stores featuring ancient animatronic fortune tellers and other early arcade attractions. Nearby another claimed to have the world's largest collection of giant shoes. I have no idea if these were genuine, but it felt like something from a bygone age when political correctness was a term yet to be invented, never mind anything to be conscious of!
By now it was time for an early lunch. The various cafés in the market itself were crowded, with long lines outside the most popular, but only a few steps away we got a table easily in the Steelhead Diner on Pine Street.
Steelhead Diner sign
I had a tasty brunch dish of poached eggs, hot smoked salmon and veggie hash, with an excellent 'No-jito' - a non-alcoholic version of the cocktail. Chris had a large salad and bottle of lager.
We liked the décor, themed around fishing (our waitress explained that one of the owners was a very keen fisherman) and spent some time photographing the ornate fishing flies displaced in perspex boxes near our table. The one in my photo may look huge in comparison to the person seated behind, but that’s a photographic illusion caused by it being so close to me! The service here was very friendly and it was a good last meal to round off our time in Seattle, and in Washington State.
Fishing fly on display, Steelhead Diner
After lunch it was back to the hotel to pick up the bags, then a two block walk to the Light Rail station at the Westlake Center to catch the train to the airport. Our Virgin Atlantic flight left on time and we enjoyed great views of the Cascades and Rocky Mountains soon after taking off.
Taking off from Seattle
Last view of Mount Rainier
Mount Baker (I think)
Over the North Cascades
Over the North Cascades
We were also pleased to have a row of three seats to ourselves, as the flight wasn't full. Nevertheless an overnight flight is never a lot of fun, as far as I am concerned, as I always struggle to sleep.
But thankfully we arrived on time at Heathrow's Terminal 4, and got through passport control and baggage collection in what must be record time for that busy airport! A short ride on the Piccadilly Line tube and we were home.
Time to start planning the next trip! Watch this space ...